Printers are not the extremely rare electrical commodity they used to be. It has become common for almost every house in the USA to have at least one.
This trend of owning a printer also means many people have old or defective printers that they don’t use anymore. Often these are just left to gather dust or thrown out with the trash.
Unlike other garbage, a printer is made of materials that don’t decompose naturally and are very harmful to the environment. By contrast, recycling is one of the most eco-friendly ways one can dispose of their printers. Who doesn’t want the option that is better for the planet and future generations?
In this article, you’ll see how it is possible to recycle your printer without much hassle.
What Your Printers Are Made of
There are many electric and non-electric components in a printer. Depending on the type of printer, the materials also differ. For example, an inkjet printer uses liquid ink, while a laser printer uses a powdered ink called toner.
Even the way the printer works can differ, with very old models most commonly being daisy wheel or dot-matrix style printers.
Modern printer models are generally made from non-biodegradable plastics or composite materials. Most of the printer’s body is made of plastic, but the screws, rollers, and circuit board are made of metal.
Many other components don’t fall in the plastic nor metal categories, such as magnesium alloy and aluminum alloy.
To understand best what your printer is made of, you need to check what kind of materials were used in your printers from the manufacturer.
Usually, the materials are stated in the packaging of the products. However, as most of us don’t keep the printer packaging, and the user manual is likely lost in a drawer with thousands of papers, the easiest option might be to look at the manufacturer’s website.
However you find the information, it would be best if you learned as much about your printer as you can find before you start recycling it.
Ways to Recycle Your Printer
A. Local Recycling Facility
1. You can take your old printers to your local recycling center or other facilities that recycle e-waste.
2. Recycling locally is beneficial for the environment and also for your local community.
3. Nearby recycling facilities can be easily located using the internet and a quick Google search. ‘Recycling Facilities near me’ is a good place to start.
4. Recycling centers take apart your printer component by component and process them accordingly. As we’ve already learned, a printer consists of many different types of components; a recycling center will recycle your printer by recycling the materials of its various components. Like the plastics and metals will have different recycling methods.
5. Sometimes the best source of information is those around us, so don’t hesitate to ask family, friends, and co-workers about this.
6. Don’t forget, many cities and businesses host many e-waste events quite frequently. These events will be announced reasonably early, so check regularly and make time in your schedule. You will likely be able to recycle your old printers from those events for free of charge.
B. Taking The Printer To The Store
1. There are numerous electronic and office supply stores out there. Many of these businesses offer recycling schemes whereby old products that you have purchased from their stores can be recycled free of charge.
2. You can find out if the seller of your old printer offers such a scheme by taking a trip to the store, ringing them, emailing them, or checking their website.
3. Remember when contacting them to ask them what documentation you need to take along with the printer. Most likely, this will be a receipt or buying notes that the retailer provided at the point of purchase.
4. Also, be on the lookout for retailers that buy any old electric products, whether it was purchased from them or not. Some retailers will purchase these from you in order to recondition them and sell them back on as a ‘refurbished’ product.
C. Contacting the Manufacturer
1. Most of the well-known manufacturers (Canon, Brother, HP, Epson) have their own recycling services.
2. Manufacturers may even offer to buy-back old printers from their brand if they are in a decent condition for a refurbish.
3. You can contact any of the manufacturers by calling your manufacturer’s hotline or checking out their website to see if they provide this kind of service. If using a VPN, remember to set it to the country you reside in as the manufacturer’s websites may change from country to country.
4. If you own an Epson printer, you will find that Epson offers a free recycling service in the United States.
5. HP collects printers, in some cases regardless of the manufacturer. This service is one they offer in countries around the world. When you get to their website, select the country you live in to get information on the services offered in your area.
Other Ways to Repurpose Your Printer
If conventional recycling methods for a printer are not for you, or you simply can’t find an option to recycle in your area, there are other alternatives to just throwing the printer away. Here we go through two of the most popular of them.
A. Donate Your Printer
1. Donating to Charity Store
You can donate your printer to organizations or other charitable foundations that accept used electronic products. Your local charity store may accept any old, working electronics that you want to get rid of. Call or visit them if you are interested.
2. Donating To A Non-Profit Organisation Or Charity
Other organizations such as The World Computer Exchange, Pickup Please, and Digital Pipelines are specialized charities that focus on providing electronics and computers to those in need. You can look online for any of these charities near you and ask them if they have any interest in taking an old printer.
3. Donating To A Public School Or Non-Profit Foundation
If you have a public school or other non-profit foundations in your area, you can ask them if they will accept your printer as a donation. To do this, your printer will need to be in a decent condition as others will use it.
You can also look for other new causes and smaller organizations that accept donations of working printers for their office work.
B. DIY Projects
Do-it-yourself projects are very popular nowadays and are an extremely creative method for recycling your old printers.
While your printer may look like a broken-down piece of junk, with the right tools, you can turn it into something magical or just start building another printer.
Should you wish to salvage the usable parts, you can build a DIY printer, saving you money on buying a brand new machine. There are plenty of guides available on the internet to help you do this.
On the more creative side, you can use your imagination and artistry (or ideas from the internet) to turn printer parts into amazing tools and showpieces.
YouTube is another great source of ideas for anyone looking at this option.
Recycling has never been more important to our planet.
With the climate changing year-on-year and rapid melting of the ice-caps, there is a good chance that we will see unchangeable consequences very soon.
It may seem like one printer isn’t going to make much of a difference, but when you think of just how many printers there are out there, you are making a huge impact in recycling yours.
So, use any of the options we have given you, rather than throwing that printer away.
And don’t forget to tell your friends and family as well. They could save money and help the environment at the same time.